Oprah Fan Club Has Nobel Goal; Cites Generosity, High Fashion
Byline: Amy Doolittle, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A local group has organized a petition drive to nominate television talk show host Oprah Winfrey for the Nobel Peace Prize next year.
About 10 District-area members of the unofficial Oprah Winfrey for the Nobel Peace Prize Fan Club say Miss Winfrey's humanitarian work, generous giving and "high fashion" makes her worthy of such an honor.
"This is something that's been inspired by God," said Rocky Twyman, 56, a devoted Oprah fan from Rockville who is leading the petition drive. "It's a grass-roots campaign in its very beginning stages."
Yesterday, Mr. Twyman and the group canvassed the area around the Friendship Heights Metro station in Northwest to collect enough signatures that they hope will result in Miss Winfrey's nomination.
Mr. Twyman and the other fan club members say Miss Winfrey deserves the award because of her willingness to devote large sums of her own money to international aid work.
Miss Winfrey's charities include Oprah's Angel Network, which helps poverty-stricken children worldwide. She recently donated $1 million to the U.S. Dream Academy Inc., a Maryland-based organization that provides emotional and educational support for children whose parents are incarcerated.
Miss Winfrey, her spokesman and a spokesman for the Nobel Peace Prize did not return telephone calls for comment yesterday.
Miss Winfrey was brought up in Mississippi and worked as a television news anchor in Baltimore in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Her daily television talk show draws about 6 million viewers a week.
Mr. Twyman, who owns a public-relations firm, said he felt inspired by God to start his fan club and petition drive during a May 24 dinner at which Miss Winfrey spoke. The dinner was held in honor of Miss Winfrey's donation to the Dream Academy.
"It was divinely inspired because it just really hit me that this is a person that deserves this award. I was just really impressed," said Mr. Twyman, who watches the Oprah show daily when it is rebroadcast at 1:05 a.m. on WJLA-TV (Channel 7).
The signature-gathering process was slow-going yesterday. There were not as many people at the Metro stop as he expected, Mr. Twyman said.
Helping Mr. Twyman gather signatures was his niece Amber Geer, 15, of Germantown.
Amber said she has been an Oprah fan since she was 9 and hopes to someday go to an Oprah show taping in Chicago.
"Her fashion is an inspiration," said Amber, who is an aspiring model. "She's an inspiration because she's set a standard to reach out to other people in other countries. …